The sixth edition of the BusinessMentoring program was launched on Thursday 08 December at the Chamber of Commerce. Since it started in 2010, the program has given around a hundred entrepreneurs the opportunity to receive the support and advice of an experienced business leader.
The BusinessMentoring program and the advantages of mentorship were celebrated in a public ceremony introduced by the director general of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, Mr Carlo Thelen, in the presence of numerous entrepreneurs and local econonomic players.
This year a total of 24 entrepreneurs have been accepted into the program, 3 times as many as in its first year. Carlo Thelen is delighted at this increase: "I'm thrilled that the concept of mentorship is becoming ever more popular and that more and more directors are getting involved in helping new entrepreneurs." In addition to the mentoring program, Mr Thelen also outlined the steps the Chamber of Commerce is taking to make life easier for entrepreneurs, namely the recent opening of the House of Entrepreneurship, a one-stop-shop where entrepreneurs can meet all the key players involved in setting up and developing a business, all under one roof.
The advice provided by my mentor, Xavier, had a direct impact on my personal development, which is of course inherently linked to the functioning of my startup.
The program, set up by the Chamber of Commerce in 2010, has for the last year been run by the startup accelerator, nyuko. Several promising SME directors have already emerged from the Luxembourg entrepreneurial ecosystem thanks to this program which helped them on their way to success. Various former partners (mentor and mentee) were present at the ceremony to testify to its success.
"The advice provided by my mentor, Xavier, had a direct impact on my personal development, which is of course inherently linked to the functioning of my startup," Patrick Rahme, the director of All Square, tells us. Over the 18 months of the program, his company expanded from just the 2 co-founders to employing 11 staff, and carried out 2 fundraising projects to help them branch out into the international market. "Xavier was an excellent mentor who guided me through the process of making these strategic decisions," adds Patrick Rahme.
Sabrina El Mahjoubi, the director of Ecotech, also found mentorship to be a very positive experience. "My mentor, Candi, really helped me progress in the management side of my company, with investments and risk assessment. On a more personal level, it was really valuable to have the opportunity to share our directorial experiences." The company had just 6 employees in 2009, and after the mentorship the number of staff tripled in under 2 years and the turnover increased by 40%.
The new mentees :
Behind: Alexandros Trepeklis (Yollty Sàrl), Théophile Gros (Ellipsys Sàrl), Rachel Gaessler (BusinessMentoring), Laurent Maillard (AdoraWeb), Sacha Thoemmes (Reyer Sàrl), Fabien Champrenonde (Vtkl-Ad S.A.), Vincent Hieff (Ministère de l’Economie), Carlo Thelen (Chambre de Commerce)
Front: Martin Guérin (nyuko), Riad Taha (techno-Tick shop), Gilles Mangen (Sport50), Mélanie Gagnon (MGSi Sàrl,) Christelle Tranquillin (CT Com Lux Sàrl), Emeline Altmeyer (MilepaKr Sàrl), José Piscitelli (Eis Epicerie Zower S.C), Matti Heikkila (Houser Sàrl), Alex Panican (Malinshopper Sàrl)
The second half of the evening was dedicated to presenting the new candidates for 2016. A large number of startup directors eligible for the BusinessMentoring program have applied to join since nyuko took over. It is hardly surprising, then, that 50% of mentees come from startups in the new technologies sector. "Our mentors are happy to support this type of entrepreneur, however, the program caters to all types of businesses and directors, at all stages of development (startup, expansion, takeover)," explains Claude Faber, spokesman for the mentor network for the evening. The other types of candidate come from a more traditional business background (trade, services, catering) and from the social and solidarity economy.
The program caters to all types of businesses and directors, at all stages of development (startup, expansion, takeover).
In addition to the intergenerational aspect of mentorship, it represents above all a development of lifelong learning: the idea that skills do not remain static over time but rather develop and evolve through the situations experienced in the running of a company.
In other words, an entrepreneur must continually work on himself in order to adapt to new economic, societal or environmental trends. Mentorship helps to instill managerial instincts and behaviours, leading to a calm, considered approach to problem solving.
At the end of the evening, the entrepreneurs, candidates and partners exchanged thoughts and ideas over a cocktail.